"Top Ten Most Instagrammed Resorts in the World"
Is the Hodges Bay really worth all the hype?
The Hodges Bay Resort & Spa has recently become a hot spot as the "go-to celebrity destination." It seems like EVERYBODY is going here nowadays since a company called ZWAVO began offering travel experiences to the resort. Antigua has been one of the few countries that are still open to travel to most of the world and U.S. Citizens, amidst the global COVID-19 Pandemic.
Personally, I had never really heard much about Antigua before seeing it all over Instagram.
I was excited about the opportunity to go and learn more about the island of Antigua & Barbuda!
Traveling to Antigua During a Pandemic
Am I out of my mind to travel out of the country during a global pandemic? The answer is no. And here's why- I'm way less likely to get and transmit the virus on a small island, 108 sq mi to be exact, on a very safe and controlled environment. All visitors to Antigua & Barbuda must present a Negative COVID-19 test upon arrival to the airport, and you must go through a health screening before entering the country. In my opinion, this is a lot safer than going to the grocery store in your local community. I'm not going to lie, the COVID-19 unit looked very scary and intimidating (people in hazmat suits tend to be intimidating) but the airport staff was so nice and welcoming. It was a breeze. After going through the screening, we were welcomed to Antigua & Barbuda and then got ourselves a taxi. The taxi was only $20 USD, and it took us about 10 minutes to get to the resort. Fun fact: the furthest drive on the island is only 45 minutes!
The rooms available at the Hodges Bay Resort & Spa are nothing short of luxury. You can opt for a suite, a penthouse, and even 5-Star villas with your very own private pool. There are many gorgeous ocean view rooms available. My favorite thing about our room was the huge balcony! There was so much space to just take in the beautiful views and relax.
This resort has everything- from a nice gym, to the spa, in in- room massage service, room service and more. My favorite part of the resort is the swim up bar! Not to mention the drinks are just incredible (I recommend their specialty coffee colada). They have entertainment and nightlife, water sports, and it's the only celebrity chef curated restaurant in the Caribbean. For a foodie like me, this place is nothing short of my expectations.
Private Beach & Island
The Hodges Bay also has their own private beach and private island for all of your Insta-worthy shots and quiet, serene relaxation. Prickly Pear Island is just a short ten minute boat ride, which is kindly provided by the resort. We did had an incredible photo shoot here, with bright teal waters and natural white sand.
There are numerous excursions available to book through the resort, including scuba diving, zip lining, yacht cruises, and more. My FAVORITE things that we did during our stay is visit Stingray City and go horseback riding on the beach during the sunset.
The stingrays are nothing to be afraid of. They are often referred to as "sea puppies" because of their affectionate and attention-needy nature! I had no idea that this creature could be so sweet! Yes, these are wild stingrays. They took us out on a boat to a shallow area in the ocean, and the stingrays soon began to swim over (they knew we had fresh squid to offer).
I know what you're thinking. Well what about Steve Irwin?! It is important that when in the water with sting rays, that you slowly shuffle your feet to move. Stingrays do not intentionally sting. In fact, they are more shy, and would rather just swim away. In order to be stung, you would have to sharply back into the end of their stinger, which is highly unlikely.
I have to admit, I was freaking out when we first got in the water. These stingrays, which can be up to 7ft large, will swim right up against you, and all around you! It was wild!!! The trainers suggested that we open our arms wide to hold them. It took me a couple tries to get one to stay in my arms, because they can sense that I was tense. They would rest for a second, and then slowly turn away from me, as to politely say, "hmm no thank you!." Once I was able to relax my arms more in the water, a big stingray just snuggled right up to me! They actually enjoy being held and pet, much like a puppy.
Sunset Horseback Riding
Antigua & Barbuda is one of the 13 independent countries of the Caribbean. Antigua is a part of the West Indies, becoming an independent nation as Antigua & Barbuda November 1, 1981. You can see the British influence everywhere, as they ruled for 350 years here. The total area of the island is only 171 sq mi, yet it is packed with culture, nature, beaches, and things to do! The official language is English, however islanders do speak a native dialect, see below for my favorite phrases!
The people on the island are very friendly, and they are always down for a good time! Everybody seems to look out for one another here, and everybody knows everybody. A friend of mine who is local told me that in the United States, she thinks it is crazy that we would not pick up a stranger on the side of the highway! They are a very trusting society and are very kind.
Rum is the go-to alcoholic beverage on this Caribbean island (no surprise here). Rum trade is one of their prime economic factors, as well as tourism. During your stay in Antigua, make sure to try English Harbour, and take one for the road!
My Favorite Antiguan Phrases:
"Bad Ah Ras" = Bad Ass
"Ting" = Thing
"look yah" = Come Here
"Cyatty" - Sexy Woman or Women
"ah wah mek" = Why
Would you travel to Antigua & Barbuda during this time? Let me know in the comments! For more Antigua video & photos, follow me on Instagram @wanderinheelstravel & @alisonbowles